Malla slams ton but Province 3 still fall short against APFFormer Nepali U-16 skipper Sumit Maharjan plays crucial knock to hand the departmental team 41-run victory at the TU Stadium
National team deputy Gyanendra Malla slammed a ton against his former club Nepal Armed Police Force Club but still failed to rescue Province 3 from a 41-run defeat in the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament at the TU Stadium on Saturday.
Malla and his national team skipper Paras Khadka, who was returning to domestic cricket after a long hiatus, teamed up together for Province 3 after both ended their allegiance with the departmental team. An enterprising knock from Sumit Maharjan, who unluckily missed his maiden domestic century by six runs, lifted a new-look APF to 288-9 in 50 overs.
Province 3 were right on the chase at 112-3 but once Bhuwan Karki had Khadka dismissed, they witnessed mini collapse that was enough to put pressure and restrict them to 247-9 in 50 overs. When Malla completed his century in the 47th over, Province 3 were almost out of the contest needing an improbably 61 from last 19 deliveries.
Malla had to take solace from his personal landmark, a second for him having reached triple figures seven years ago. The right-handed batsman had made 109 not out against Region No 8 during the One Day National cricket tournament in 2012 while playing for APF. On Saturday, Malla’s 111-ball 117 included eight boundaries and five sixes.
Young openers Rit Gautam and Jitendra Singh Thakuri (12) opened the innings for Province 3 and started cautiously in a 40-run partnership that took 71 deliveries. Gautam made 27 off 52 with four boundaries. The 40 without loss read 55-3 after Province 3 lost both the openers along with Ishan Pandey (one) before Khadka and Malla consolidated the innings.
Khadka and Malla 57 runs for the fourth wicket with the former doing the bulk of scoring. Khadka made a 45-ball 46 hitting four boundaries and two sixes. In chase of a big total, Province 3 lost four wickets in a space of 35 runs to get reduced to 145-7 in 36.4 overs.
Malla tried to revive the innings with a 98-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Sonu Devkota (15) but with asking rate creeping up, his heroics fell short. Kamal Singh Airee took 3-64 for APF and Abinash Bohora took 2-66 from 10 overs. Karki was pivotal giving away just 24 runs in his 10 overs with the crucial wicket of Khadka. APF didn’t have the best of the start losing their first three wickets for just 35 runs. Maharjan, who have been impressive for the last one year in domestic Twenty20 tournaments, proved himself in 50-over game beginning with a 75-run stand with Pradeep Airee who chipped in 40 off 63 balls with five boundaries and a six.
Former Nepal U-16 skipper Maharjan brought the match-winning partnership with his stand-in skipper Prithu Baskota who was leading in absence of veteran left arm spinner Basanta Regmi. Man-of-the-match Maharjan made 94 off 103 balls hitting six sixes and five boundaries before a mix-up with Baskota resulted in his unlucky run out.
Baskota made an invaluable 59 off 58 balls, his innings laced with three fours and a six. Amar Singh Routela provided a late lift with an 18-ball 22 with two sixes and as many boundaries. Nandan Yadav and Thakuri took three wickets each for Province 3.
Nepal Armed Police Force Club 288-9 in 50 overs (S Maharjan 94, P Baskota 59, PS Airee 40; N Yadav 3-40, JS Thakuri 3-38) beat Province 3 247-9 in 50 overs (G Malla 117, P Khadka 46; KS Airee 3-64, A Bohora 2-66) by 41 runs
Man-of-the-match: S Maharjan (APF)